MAILED: Aug. 21, 2000
The 59th season of The Forum lecture series at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire will open with a presentation by Jim Hightower at 7:30 p.m. Monday, Sept. 18, in Zorn Arena.
Author, radio commentator, public speaker and political sparkplug, Hightower is a popular progressive who has become a leading national voice for the 80 percent of Americans who no longer find themselves even within shouting distance of those at the top. The title of his new book, "If the Gods Had Meant Us to Vote They Would Have Given Us Candidates," foreshadows the election-eve insights that Hightower will share in his presentation titled "Election 2000: A Space Odyssey."
"Presidential elections have not been about big ideas, contrasting philosophies or even about people for several cycles now," Hightower says. "But this one is shaping up to be a particularly surreal space odyssey."
All Forum events begin at 7:30 p.m. A typical program includes a 60-minute lecture, a 30-minute question-and-answer session, and an open reception. Details of the other four 2000-2001 season events follow:
Season subscription information is available at the University Service Center, (715) 836-3727. A range of subscription packages is available, offering discounts of 10 to 20 percent. Tickets for individual Forum events are $7 for the public; $5 for those age 62 and over and UW-Eau Claire faculty/staff; or $3 for those age 17 and under and UW-Eau Claire students.
- Howard Zinn, "You Can't Be Neutral on a Moving Train"; Tuesday, Oct. 10, Zorn Arena. A historian long admired as a writer and an important political and moral voice, Zinn has placed himself at the center of the most important historical moments of the last 30 years. His greatest work, "A People's History of the United States: 1492-Present," has been used in university classrooms for 20 years. Library Journal called it a "brilliant and moving history of the American people from the point of view of those who have been exploited politically and economically and whose plight has been largely omitted from most histories."
Zinn's presentation draws its title from a point he often made to his students at Boston University: "The world is already moving in certain directions many of them horrifying. Children are going hungry, people are dying in wars. To be neutral in such a situation is to collaborate with what is going on."
- James Meredith, "Celebrating the Dream"; Thursday, Feb. 15, Zorn Arena. Meredith risked his life to apply the laws of integration in 1962, when he tried to register at the University of Mississippi. The U.S. Supreme Court ordered his admission, but state officials refused to abide by the ruling and barred his entrance. After a night of riots in which two people were killed, Meredith was finally admitted. Federal troops stayed on at Ole Miss to protect Meredith until he graduated in 1963.
In 1966 Meredith began The March Against Fear, an individual act to assert the right of all African Americans to move across the South unmolested. He set out to prove he could conquer his own fear by walking safely from Memphis, Tenn., to Jackson, Miss., and encouraged those along the way to take the physical risk of registering to vote. A sniper shot Meredith in Mississippi, but ten days later he completed his march with Martin Luther King Jr. and other civil rights leaders beside him.
Enigmatic and controversial, Meredith will recall his experiences as a pioneer in the civil rights movement, and will speak of his continued efforts to improve literacy including the Black Man's March for Education he led across Mississippi in 1998.
- Liza Vann, "The Top of the Bottom Half"; Tuesday, March 13, Schofield Auditorium. In this one-person show Vann addresses the most difficult of topics including her non-traditional confrontation with breast cancer with humor and intelligence. A journey through the tragedies, triumphs and teachings of her life, Vann's presentation shocked and created controversy in New York, where her play's bare-breasted advertising showed the results of her breast cancer surgery without the usual scars and mutilation.
"Cancer is not a gunshot wound," Vann has said. "Both are serious; only one is urgent. ... I did the disease about as well as it gets done. But as well as I did it, I want you to do it better."
- James Randi, "In Search of the Chimera"; Tuesday, May 1, Zorn Arena. Randi achieved worldwide fame as a magician and escape artist but he is even better known as the world's premier investigator of psychic and paranormal claims. For more than 30 years he has tirelessly and relentlessly examined and tested claims of all kinds in countries all over the world. His investigations have been the subject of many television programs, including a "Nova" presentation on PBS-TV titled "Secrets of the Psychics." Recipient of the MacArthur Foundation "genius" fellowship, he founded the James Randi Educational Foundation to educate young people in critical thinking.
"Perhaps nobody in the world understands both the virtues and the failings of the paranormal as well as Randi does," said the late Isaac Asimov. "His qualifications as a rational human being are unparalleled." Arthur C. Clarke calls Randi "a national treasure, and perhaps one of the remaining antidotes that may prevent the rotting of the American mind."
Patrons may buy season packages and single tickets by mail; those not on the university's mailing list may request a season booklet by calling the Activities and Programs Office, (715) 836-4833.
Patrons also may charge their tickets to MasterCard or Visa when they order by phone. Call (715) 836-3727 or, outside the immediate Eau Claire area, call toll-free (800) 949-UWEC. A $3 handling fee will be added to all telephone charge orders.
The Forum is made possible by student funds allocated by the UW-Eau Claire Student Senate. The program is administered by the Activities and Programs Office.
Janice B. Wisner
UW-Eau Claire News Bureau
Updated: Aug. 21, 2000